With a CAF Champions League ticket already in the bag, MFM FC coach Fidelis Ilechukwu says his team would push their luck further in a bid to wrest this season’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title from table-toppers Plateau United this weekend.
However MFM FC will have to do that in one of the league’s most difficult venues in Maiduguri against El-Kanemi Warriors.
MFM have amassed 62 points, one behind Plateau United, following a convincing 2-0 victory over Nasarawa United on Matchday 37 at the Agege Stadium in Lagos on Sunday and Ilechukwu acknowledged that his team must win on Sunday to stand a chance of claiming a first title though that will happen if only Plateau United fail to defeat outgoing champions Rangers International at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.
According to the dark-skinned tactician, El-Kanemi Warriors have not really changed much since their last encounter on Matchday 18. And, having played and defeated El-Kanemi Warriors hands down (3-0) during the first round, Ilechukwu is confident his players have the know-how to win the game
“We are the team to win the NPFL this season and we are almost there,” Ilechukwu said. “We have to beat El-Kanemi to cap a successful season, because if we want to lift the league trophy, we need the final day’s three points and this is achievable,” he told npfl.ng.
When asked why he has not given up the title to table-toppers Plateau United (on 63 points) whose probable crowning is delayed till after their match against Rangers, the MFM coach said: “No! No! No! We have not given up the title, Plateau United are also in a must-win situation so it’s not over for us until the final whistle. We are the best club in Nigeria this year.”
“At MFM FC, we have the belief that we can do it, then we stand a chance to be champions but let’s see how the final day games end on Saturday.”
The Ilechukwu-led MFM FC drubbed El-Kanemi 3-0 last time out and his confidence to make it a double over the Maiduguri is further boosted by his hard working and dedicated players.
Although, MFM FC will miss joint top scorer in the NPFL, Stephen Odey who scored 18 goals before leaving their camp, but key players such as Olatunbosun Sikiru, Chukwuka Onuwa, Adebayo Waheed, Okorom Stanley and skipper Opara Austin will be among the boys to watch for El-Kanemi come Saturday.
However, the main problem for Ilechukwu is that his boys have not been so inspiring on the road since the beginning of the second round. Apart from the slim 1-0 defeat of relegated Remo Stars in Sagamu last month, MFM lost their last three away matches to River United (1-0), Rangers (2-0) and Plateau United (1-0).